Ever order too many onion transplants and wonder where in the world you were going to plant them all?
Ever start onion seeds and have a lot more come up than what you anticipated and wonder how you’ll use that many onions.
Or maybe you’re like me and just want another way to add to your strategy to insure having some form of home grown onions all year.
Here’s a way to use your excess seedlings or to use as part of your strategy to have onions all year.
Grow your own onion sets.
Chose the method that’s most convenient for you:
- Direct seed into a small area of the garden at the time you would usually plant. Sow thickly so that the bulbs will not be able to expand. They’ll “finish” as very small bulbs.
- Or start your seed in a jug bottom or flat about 6 to 8 weeks before you would plant onions outside. When transplanting to the garden plant close together.
- If you buy transplants, use the smaller ones in the bundle to plant as you would your own seedlings as mentioned above.
Why They’ll Make Sets
When you plant onions really close together is stops their development. They’re unable to expand and they’ll mature earlier in the season. You can cure them just like large onions, hold, and replant again at the appropriate time in your area.
Here in zone 7, I replant again in August or September for spring onions in the fall and sometimes through the winter. (Yes, even when we have snow!)
Since Virginia is just about in the middle of the continent, I can grow long day onions (usually grown in the North) and short day onions (usually grown in the south).
Thus, if I’m growing a long day onion that’s a storage onion, like Copra, I could hold these sets over until next March and plant out in the garden.
If I were growing short day onions, they’d have to be planted in the fall since they wouldn’t keep through the winter for spring planting.
How Close is Close?
I’m going to plant some onions especially to produce sets in a small area of the garden this year. I’ll try two spacings for each type of onion.
Long day onions that are considered good for storage, I’ll plant 1/4 inch apart and some 1/2 inch apart. These are the sets that will store well. I’ll hold them over until next spring. I want these to be very small; about dime size. That small size will produce the biggest onions when planted the following spring.
Short day onions: I’ll plant some 1/2 inch apart and some 1 inch apart. I have a feeling that might be a waste of space, but I want to see what they’ll do. And since I want them for fall-planted spring onions, it won’t matter if they get too big.
Testing various spacings this year should give me a good idea of how I can be even more successful growing sets in possibly even less space in future years.
How I Came By Sets Previously
Out of about 1500 onions, I always get a couple of dozen that don’t mature properly. So they end up as sets which I replant in the fall.
If you have an excess of onion seedlings and know you can’t use that many onions when they mature, growing sets is a great way to make them last to a time in the future that you can use them.
Or, if you’re an onion lover like me, and the goal is to have some form of home grown onions during every month of the year. Growing sets for replanting is just one more way.
A Few Other Onion Posts:
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